The Circle of Life has made its back to the starting line of the really big oval track on which we have been running together. Maralea and I celebrated our 28th wedding anniversary in April, followed by our sending the young squire Jordan off to BYU for the summer, then on an LDS Church mission to the Philippines, leaving us all alone to contemplate what exactly happened over the past 28 years. Let's see . . . 29 Decembers ago, I was wrestling with the thrill of having found the girl of my dreams and the stress of figuring out how I would propose to her. I had traveled with Maralea to her home in Sparks, NV where I met her family for the first time and fell in love with everyone. (They all thought I was crazy, singing Beatles songs with my guitar non-stop, but that is another story for another day/year.) Our first Christmas as "empty nesters" draws our thoughts back to those early Christmases we had together. Each Christmas for our family has been wonderful, filled with great memories and warm feelings for blessings received.
|The last Royal family picture before Jordan left on his mission in September. My how we have grown!!!|
|Our first family portrait, 1985|
“It’s been great to take a couple days and get our house looking more like Christmas. Maralea and I worked together at the ward Christmas lot (selling Christmas trees) and went ahead and bought a tree ourselves. We set up our tree last night and decorated it while listening to Perry Como Christmas songs. We put on Christmas lights and lots of bulbs and other ornaments Maralea purchased. Maralea put her arms around me once it was all set up. She put in a Barry Manilow tape, and turned off the house lights, leaving only the lights of the tree to illuminate our home. We sat there together for about an hour just watching the tree and talking. It was absolutely awesome, bringing back a lot of wonderful feelings and memories of Christmas and I thought fondly about some of the future ones that lie ahead of us, with children all around. How sweet that will be!” (Mike's Journal of Royal Memories, December 7, 1983.)
Now, in December 2011, Maralea and I are again sitting alone together around the Christmas tree, admiring the lights, listening to music, and reflecting upon Christmas family memories together. Where did the time go? But I digress. It was Christmas Eve 1982. I was single, in love, and determined to seal the marriage deal which all seemed so surreal. (Sorry, I veered off on a semi-poetic course there for a moment.) Here's what I wrote about that time in my life.
“Dad and I went shopping for Mom and in the process we went looking at diamond rings. I found a one in a beautiful setting that I may get for Maralea next week. I think she'd love it! I can’t believe that I’ve found the girl I've been dreaming of all my life. I had a long talk with Mom and Dad when I got home from Reno and they are excited at my decision to marry Maralea. I've had a hard time sleeping and haven't been feeling well yesterday or today. This is going to be a very significant holiday season for me. By the time next year I should be sharing Christmas with my wife! How cool is that? It feels wonderful to know how much Maralea loves me and also to know how much I love her. Life has been very good to me and I think that Maralea came into my life at just the right time. Merry Christmas!!” (December, 24, 1982, Mike's Journal)
|Riding the bus to Oxford, MS|
|A Royal army!|
|World meet Beckham!|
|Hanging with the Ainges in Corvallis, OR|
Here’s a little summary of where the Royals are as the once chirping birds in the nest have now flown away to build nests of their own.
|Jordan with a kill in the state semis|
Jordan had a great senior season of volleyball and received First Team All Conference honors. His team finished as runner up in the Regional Championship and lost in the state semi finals, but Jordan got to play one more match: a senior east/west all-star match, which was put together for the first time. That was a lot of fun - a great way to end the season (and helped ease the pain of not winning state).
Jordan graduated with high honors and attended BYU summer term. He absolutely loved BYU. (And let’s be honest, who wouldn’t?) Prior to his departure for school, Jordan received his mission call to the Philippines Angeles Mission. (Yes, I know we already covered that . . . but it’s worth noting twice.) When he opened the letter from Pres. Thomas S. Monson and announced his assignment, we all cheered.
|Jordan opens his mission call|
|Jordan was hosted at the MTC by life long friend Daniel Sorensen|
|One last Mommy/Jordan pre-mission hug|
|Jordan and Elder Declaro eating in Cabanatuan City|
David aka Lefty
|David here with former roommates (and brother of other mothers) Tommy (left) and Landon (right)|
|David visits the ER after snow boarding (D'oh)|
David is enjoying life at BYU - well, except for the part about having to wear a cast from his right shoulder to hand after busting up his wrist in a snow boarding “accident” when he and his buddy, Jack, decided to go to “the playground” and tryout some “tricks” before calling it a day. But, that did not stop David from playing in the annual family Thanksgiving Day Turkey Bowl, when he picked off his weak armed Uncle Dan (ha), stiff armed his scrawny cousin Nicky (double ha), and took it to the house. (David was looking forward to playing lots of volleyball over the Christmas break . . . but that is just not gonna happen.) David was recently accepted into the BYU Advertising Program and looks forward to a life of writing creative jingles and persuading the masses to buy things they do not need. (Ha. Actually, that is not accurate. Advertisers also promote things we need, like say . . . uh . . . home alarm systems. See Brad & Whitney below.) David is employed at the law school library (along with cousins Cody Bringham, Jason Foote, and Kimberly Foote) and loves scanning long documents in his spare time on the job (. . . NOT). David was always the most enthusiastic of our children about helping Maralea set up the Christmas decorations. So, this year, as she and I began that little task together - alone - Maralea interrupted my complaining with: “I am really missing David right now.” (He’s a total Momma’s boy.)
|David and Landon in Corvallis, OR at the BYU/OSU game in October|
|2011 Turkey Bowlers|
(Front from left: Trevor, Cody, Nicky, Ally, Devin, Calvin, & "one arm" David. Back from left: Colin, Jeffrey, Dan and Mike. Not pictured cheerleaders: Maralea, Kathy, Jen, and Emily)
Kelli and Jason
|Jason and Kelli are going to become parents in 2012|
|Kelli busts a prego move in Hollywood|
|Kelli and the guys get in one last volleyball match before Jordan's mission|
Brad and Whitney
|Brad, Whitney and Beckham|
|Beckham on his blessing day|
|The kids perform an out of sync Timpanogos leap to celebrate Royal family temple day. (This is about a week before Whitney brought Beckham to the world and check out the air she gets here.)|
Mike and Maralea
|Savoring the moment at Jordan's High School Graduation|
(Isn't Sister Royal pretty?)
|Grandma Maralea holds Beckham for the first time!|
|Grandpa Royal here virtually holds iBeckham!|
|Sister Royal AT the mission office|
|Sister Royal AWAY from the mission office|
|The last complete Royal BYU Blue Football photo until . . . 2013|
|Jordan's "last supper" at the BYU Sky Room - about an hour before entering the MTC|
|The Fab Four Royals at the Wilkinson Center|
I used to have an easy time tracking funny family quotes; however, it is so difficult to accomplish when it’s just the two of us. Here are a few we managed to round up.
"Sledding is so much more fun when you completely disregard your safety." David, on the joy of snow . . . and the agony of defeat . . . in Provo. (He obviously feels the same way about snow boarding. Hence, his presently broken right wrist.)
"Do you think I’ll make the cut?" Maralea, after receiving an invitation from Mom aka Marie aka Grandma Royal aka The Little Old Lady in Sierra Vista to join her Golden Girls book club only to then learn that her name was being submitted for group approval. (She did make the cut, by the way. Whew!)
|Maralea's GOT GAME!|
"You understand I love Jimmer, right?" Maralea, explaining why she was so preoccupied with taping ESPN, listening to the KSL post game show, and reading BYU articles online after BYU’s 94-85 win over CSU.
"Look at this Smart Car hanging out in the left lane." Maralea, who cannot stand slow drivers in the fast lane. This was said as she drove by the Smart car on the right, looking at the car through the driver’s side window, while calmly observing: "You're not very smart in that car."
A Royal Senior Moment
Mike: (Calling Maralea on the phone while backing out of the driveway): "Hey, someone stole our van!!"
Mar: "What? (Sigh) No one stole the van. I told you twenty minutes ago I was taking the van this morning and to not freak out if you saw it missing.”
Mike: "You did? When did you say that?"
Mar: "Ahhhhhhh!!! At least three times. You never listen to me!"
(This discussion is generally repeated on different subjects in various ways several times a month with the same result.)
|Kelli demonstrating how to catch a fly|
With lots of love,
Mike and Maralea aka Elder and Sister Royal
|Three Generations: Dad, Jordan, Mike, David|
|David and his snow buddies . . . off to risk life/limb|
|We love da Jimmer! That's what we say|
We do not know this little girl, but we love the Jimmer Anthem!
|BYU basketball at the Marriott Center (Go Jimmer! . . . Cougars, too)|
|Maralea meets "The Jake" in Pine Valley|
|REUNITED! Cody and David as Elder Bringham returns|
|Senior Day - our fourth and (sniff) last Silverado volleyballer|
|What Jordan looks like on paper ;)|
|Silverado '11 volleyball seniors|
|Jordan's Brick Oven "Day Before the MTC" lunch|
|Family party after the Silverado/Foothill volleyball match|
|MTC: Like father, like sons!|
One of the great moments in 2011: Brennen Pie
|Our Temple Day: THE greatest Royal family moment of 2011!|
|"I saw Mommy kissing Elder Royal"|
Maralea, Kelli, Jason, Mike, David Kambria
|Oh, and we made it on TV in the BYU/OSU game (thanks ESPN!)|
|Kelli was a speed bump for Halloween|
|Old Timer Grandpa Royal holds Beckham in the wilderness of the old west at Brad's birthday round up|
At four months, Beckham is already starting to talk to us!
|HAVE A VERY MERRY ROYAL CHRISTMAS|